Roberson urges Nigerians to invest in less privileged

Nonnie Roberson celebrating with some of the released prisoners.

Nonnie Roberson celebrating with some of the released prisoners.

President, Nigerian Women in Clergy, Nonnie Roberson recently paid an unscheduled visit to Suleja prison, where she helped some indigent convicted prisoners pay their fine.

Speaking with journalists after the humanitarian effort, Nonnie, who is also the overseer of the New Wine Ministries, Worldwide said: “It struck me on my birthday eve that some people are being held in different prisons across the country, some of whom might have committed petty crimes, but were thrown into prison after failing to meet their bail conditions or pay the fine for their release.”

She said her effort was in line with Easter message, which urges all men of goodwill to try to ‘set the captives free.’ So, she had deliberately selected Suleja prison because it is dominated by the less privileged and those who have no means of securing their own release.

She also lamented the incarceration of an eight-month-old baby, who was in prison because her mother had committed a crime, which ordinarily shouldn’t have taken her to prison.

“I was moved to tears seeing the condition the woman and her child were subjected to. Why should children be incarcerated alongside their parents,” she queried.

Nonnie further lamented the prison system in Nigeria, saying she had been to other prisons around the world, but the operations are different from what obtains in Nigeria, where prisoners are subjected to horrible and dehumanising conditions.

On why she decided to visit the prison, when top on the nation’s agenda are gender related issues, she said: “I always like doing things differently. I heard of those that could be described as forgotten victims in Nigerian prisons and though I didn’t take it seriously because I was not led by the Spirit, I prayed over it and few days to my birthday, God asked me to visit prisons.

“The first prison that came to my mind was Kuje Prison, because ignorantly, I thought that was the only prison around. But we later went to Suleja prison and we met different prison inmates. Some are serving jail terms there with the options of N5, 000 to N15, 000 fines, but which they couldn’t afford. This is why I call them the ‘forgotten victims.’ There are people that have looted billions of naira in this country, yet they have their freedom and are sailing around the world. This is funny.”

In her view, Nigerians should consciously put smiles on one another’s faces, especially during such seasons as Easter. She said it is vanity gathering so much wealth, while others are dying and suffering.

“I like to call on all well-meaning Nigerians to imbibe the culture of touching the lives of less privileged Nigerians positively. Rather than lavishing money on birthday parties and other social events, we can invest those monies in our brothers and sisters in different situations around us,” she said.

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